West Hartford, Connecticut (July 19, 2021) – At a drenched Wampanoag Country Club James Imai (Brookline, MA) and Chris DeJohn (Ridgewood, NJ) shared medalist honors and punched their tickets to the 121st U.S. Amateur to be contested next month at Oakmont Country Club.
Both players finished 8-under after 36-holes and two shots clear of first alternate Cody Paladino (West Hartford, CT) playing on his home course and three shots clear of second alternate Peter Tomlinson (Seymour, CT). Tomlinson earned the second alternate spot by rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt on the fifth extra hole to best Rick Dowling (Shelton, CT).
Imai jumped out to a quick start during his morning round firing a 7-under 65 to take the lead after the first round. The rising junior at Northwestern played his 12 holes in 6-under, highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 12th. The eagle was the result of an eight-iron from 183 yards out that was hit to 10-feet.
“The course was a bit wet but I loved the layout,” James Imai said. “The pins were gettable with the softer conditions and I was glad that I was able to take advantage of it.
His lone bogey of the round followed on the ensuing hole but Imai, a three-time Massachusetts Junior Amateur winner, rebounded nicely with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16. In all his round was comprised of six birdies, one eagle, and one bogey.
In the second round Imai put together an up and down 1-under 71. Beginning on No. 10 Imai birdied Nos. 11-13 to get as low as 10-under. Sitting comfortably Imai did stumble a bit on the way in with a double-bogey and two bogeys but two additional birdies on the third and sixth holes were more than enough to push the 2018 U.S. Amateur participant into his second tournament appearance.
“I’m really excited to be going to Oakmont. I played well in 2018 at the U.S. Amateur so hopefully I can use that experience and play well at Oakmont,” said Imai.
DeJohn, an Account Executive at Greyson Clothiers, needed to go low in his second round following an opening 2-under 70 and he did just that firing a 6-under 66. “I was a little more confident in my lines off the tee in the second round and I didn’t make any mistakes until my last hole,” Chris DeJohn who hit 16 of 18 greens in the afternoon said.
Starting his second round on No. 10 DeJohn played a flawless side with four birdies to turn in 4-under 32. Needing to keep the peddle to the mettle the former three-time NCAA Division III All-American for Skidmore College did just that finding his fifth birdie of the round on No. 5 and then rolling in a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 sixth. DeJohn also chipped in for an eagle in his opening round on his way to playing Wampanoag CC’s par-5s in 10-under.
The birdie and eagle gave DeJohn just enough breathing room to overcome a bogey on his final hole of the day. “This will be my first U.S. Amateur and I’m beyond excited,” the 34-year-old said. “I have never played Oakmont, which I’ve always wanted to do and I’m really excited I get to play it in championship form.”
The 121st U.S. Amateur will be played from August 9-15 at Oakmont Country Club. Following two days of stroke play competition the field will be cut to 64 for match play.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.